COMICS AND ART
The New York Institute for the Humanities is hosting a conference from October 22-24 on the relationship between believers and secularists to be called "Us vs. Them." It will include intellectual figures such as Oxford University professor Richard Dawkins and author Jack Miles ("God: A Biography").
Last Friday the NYIH held another program with "vs." in its title: "Ephemera vs. the Apocalypse."
Cartoonist Art Spiegelman gave a PowerPoint presentation on "In the Shadow of No Towers" (Pantheon), his book of comics narrating in personal terms the events and aftermath of September 11. It was co-sponsored by the Cooper Union for the Science of Advancement and Art.
Mr. Spiegelman, the creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning tale "Maus," lives near Canal Street and witnessed the tragic event.
Police cordoned off Lower Manhattan, and he needed proof of residency to pass through. "I finally achieved the aspiration of living in a gated community," he said to audience laughter.
Mr. Spiegelman pointed to a page in his latest work, where readers are given no direction. Usually, he said, the cartoonist guides the reader to the next panel. But on this page, one's attention is "fragmented" by the "all-at-onceness" of the unfolding events.
The presentation bounced between the history of comic books and expressions of anger at the Bush administration. Mr. Spiegelman told the audience how the term "Yellow Journalism" came from the comic strip "The Yellow Kid." He said the Yellow Kid "was the progenitor of Rupert Murdoch."
The audience laughed when Mr. Spiegelman said some saw him as an "'on-message,' thinner Michael Moore."
Among those in the audience were two New York University faculty members: drama scholar Tom Bishop and sociologist Richard Sennett ("The Fall of Public Man"), who divides his time between New York and London.
Following the talk, writers Pete Hamill and Rebecca Solnit joined Mr. Spiegelman onstage and offered their reflections and comments.
Ms. Solnit, who wrote "River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West" (Viking), considered other ruins, such as those resulting from San Francisco's 1906 earthquake.
She mentioned that often ruins are "erased." Evidence of arson and destruction during the 1970s in New York, for example, are lost incrementally, often leaving no trace in areas that are "prime real estate."
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Jonathan Rosen's second novel, "Joy Comes in the Morning" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), about a female cleric's spiritual odyssey, was feted on Wednesday night on the Upper East Side. The book's biblical title comes from Psalm 30: "Weeping may endure for a night/But joy comes in the morning." In his brief remarks, Mr. Rosen quoted Melville and Yeats, two sources of his literary inspiration.
Those in attendance included writers Judith Dunford, Joyce Johnson, Melvin Jules Bukiet, and Thane Rosenbaum, and scholar Morris Dickstein.
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The newsletter of the Jane Street Block Association, The JaneStreeter, reports "on very good authority," namely "a conversation with the landlord," that Li-Lac Chocolates will move to Jane Street from Christopher Street.
That development would make a small corridor of cacao, as Chocolate Bar is located less than a block away.
In other mocha musings, the proprietors of Chocolate Bar have written a book called "Chocolate Bar" (Running Press) slated for publication later this fall.
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U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow will address the Economic Club of New York tomorrow...The Friars Club will roast Donald Trump on October 15... Chuck Barris ("The Gong Show") will be a featured guest at a Friars lunch on November 9...Parsons School of Design dean Paul Goldberger spoke Thursday at Barnes & Noble Union Square about his book "Up from Zero: Politics, Architecture, and the Rebuilding of New York" (Random House). He said Daniel Libeskind was able to get the public to consider or accept architecture to which they might otherwise pay attention. Mr. Goldberger said that was like a musician who plays John Cage 1263 511 1338 523but describes it as though it were Irving Berlin...Songwriter Ervin Drake and magician Jamy Ian Swiss have become members of the Players club. The latter joined after bumping into club president Timothy Hutton at P.J. Clarke's... At a Society of Professional Journalists panel entitled "When Blogging Meets Journalism," NYTimes.com Editor-in-Chief Len Apcar said blogging "bubbled up" about three years ago. Time magazine, he said, wrote an article about bloggers in June. "God bless you," he said, "You put them in the "mainstream." But he added, "You're late."